trans·​la·​tion | \ tran(t)s-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce translation (audio) , tranz- \

Definition of translation

1 : an act, process, or instance of translating: such as
a : a rendering from one language into another also : the product of such a rendering
b : a change to a different substance, form, or appearance : conversion
c(1) : a transformation of coordinates in which the new axes are parallel to the old ones
(2) : uniform motion of a body in a straight line
2 : the process of forming a protein molecule at a ribosomal site of protein synthesis from information contained in messenger RNA — compare transcription sense 3

Other Words from translation

translational \ tran(t)s-​ˈlā-​shnəl How to pronounce translation (audio) , tranz-​ , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for translation



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of translation in a Sentence

She is working on a translation of the novel. a new translation of the Iliad There were English translations on the menu. the translation of economic power into political strength
Recent Examples on the Web The words are a direct translation of yinyefeishi, a Chinese literary phrase. Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, 9 May 2022 There was no English translation provided, despite English being one of Hong Kong's two official languages -- in striking contrast to most government events to date. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 7 May 2022 The set by Marsha Ginsberg is an ingenious three-dimensional translation of the script: the classroom, lighted vividly by Reza Behjat, is embedded in a cube-like box placed on a turntable. Washington Post, 1 Mar. 2022 Mardis Gras is the French translation for 'Fat Tuesday,' also called Carnival Tuesday and Pancake Tuesday. Editors, USA TODAY, 1 Mar. 2022 This also reflects this Korean concept of jeong – it’s a very deeply Korean concept for which there is no direct English translation. oregonlive, 9 Feb. 2022 Thus, dialogue is not a verbatim one-to-one translation from English to sign language. Steven Aquino, Forbes, 31 Jan. 2022 And while this humor is baked into the visuals and the character dialogue, this unique and hilarious strain of unmistakable D&D is front and center, a perfect translation of the hobby into a serious but very funny show. Spencer Crittenden, Variety, 27 Jan. 2022 Yet the painting isn’t just a preparation for the tapestry, nor is the tapestry just a translation of the painting. New York Times, 26 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'translation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of translation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Buying Guide

Learn a new language with apps selected by our Reviews team.

Learn More About translation

Time Traveler for translation

Time Traveler

The first known use of translation was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near translation



translational research

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for translation

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Translation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for translation


trans·​la·​tion | \ trans-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce translation (audio) \

Kids Definition of translation

: the act, process, or result of changing from one form or language into another


trans·​la·​tion | \ tran(t)s-ˈlā-shən, tranz- How to pronounce translation (audio) \

Medical Definition of translation

: the process of forming a protein molecule at a ribosomal site of protein synthesis from information contained in messenger RNA — compare transcription

Other Words from translation

translational \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl How to pronounce translation (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on translation

Nglish: Translation of translation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of translation for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!